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Cyclist dies in crash on site of scrapped bike route

Southsea fatality shows how much cycle route is needed, say local cyclists

A cyclist has died after colliding with a bus on Clarence Esplanade in Southsea, Portsmouth – the site of a planned new cycle route that was axed by the local council just last week.

The Portsmouth News reports that a woman believed to have been in her 40s died at Southampton General Hospital at 4.30pm yesterday (Saturday 17 July), three hours after the collision at the bottom of Pier Road.

The woman collided with a single decker Stagecoach number 700 bus, travelling towards Southsea from Brighton.

The bus driver, a 53 year-old Portsmouth man, was arrested for causing death by dangerous driving.

Hampshire Police have asked for anyone who may know the woman, or who saw what happened, to contact them. They also hope to speak to the bus passengers, many of whom left before police had a chance to talk to them.

The crash happened on a road that would have formed part of a new cycle route – until plans were scrapped last week. As we reported at the time, city councillors blamed financial constraints for their decision to axe the £250,000 scheme.

A local cycling group says the crash shows how wrong the council were to cancel the proposed new cycle route. Jon Spencer, vice chair of the Portsmouth Cycle Forum, said, “Sadly, we've had to wait less than a week for a brutal illustration of why we need this cycle route.

“The road at Clarence Pier is very narrow, very crowded by parked cars and very busy. It is the most popular part of the seafront but at the moment it is a no-go area for cyclists. The city council are obviously happy for this to remain the case.”

Writing on the local cycling forum PompeyBUG, Forum chair John Holland said, "Portsmouth Cycle Forum is very sad to learn of the death in a road accident of a woman cyclist at Clarence Esplanade on Saturday 17 July. Our thoughts lie with her family and friends to whom send our deepest condolences.

"The cyclist was involved in collision with a bus in the vicinity of Pier Road and Clarence Esplanade, close to Clarence Pier.

"This terrible accident is yet another reminder that large vehicles, busy traffic and cyclists are not a happy mix. Whilst it will be some time before the details are made public, we urge the Portsmouth City Council to press ahead with making this section of our seafront much safer and calmer for all.

"Almost exactly one year ago, a cyclist was seriously injured Clarence Esplanade when a car reversed blindly from a parking bay into the road.

"Portsmouth City Council is on the verge of postponing Phase 2 of the Southsea Seafront Cycle Route. Had this been in place yesterday then this awful incident might have been avoided.

"We urge councillors to think again. A safe and segregated cycle route can be built – one which doesn’t loose any car parking, one which doesn’t stop people looking out to sea from their cars, one which doesn’t involve cycling on the promenade. We will be pushing hard for this – we don’t want any more injuries and fatalities on our seafront roads."

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine ( 

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Barney | 13 years ago

Hello Martin I have known the woman who lost her life since 1966 when we started secondary school. To say that the people who have known her for 44 years are stunned that she has died in these circumstances would be the understatement of the decade. What she would be very pleased to know is that her death wasn't in vain if the cycle lane project could be kick started as a direct result. To that end I would be grateful if you could let me (and therefore her other friends) know who we should write to on the local council and we will do what we can to make sure that her loss doesn't just go down as another statistic. Regards

Martin Thomas replied to Barney | 13 years ago

Barney - thanks for your comment and my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your friend. I'll dig out some names and will send you a private message.

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